Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Better Practices - Cultural Navigation

This is a series of posts that outline our better practices - tactical things that you could do right now that The Ember Cast has found highly profitable for growing global leaders. Feel free to use these ideas with attribution, meaning just say, "I got this from The Ember Cast."

Through the years of helping cross cultural teams, one of our most powerful tools has been the cultural navigation exercise. Originally executed by KNorman in Vienna in the summer of 2008, we've tried to expand his idea of an urban navigation exercise to help teams peel back layer of culture, ultimately asking the question, "If we were to plant the Gospel here, how is this relevant?" We've adjusted it slightly so that teams think about observations in the culture, not just getting from point A to point B. The Upstream Collective also had a huge influence with this tool, specifically in their book Tradecraft. We use some tangible objects to help people do some observing around these ideas too - things such as people, architecture, food, etc. In some cases, we've had to redirect people when they focus on planting a church versus planting the Gospel.

Culture exists in every human experience. From where you live to where you work, how you interact with your family, co-workers, friends from school, power dynamics, lines of communication, worldviews, the route you commute. We will have made a mistake if we have not taught young people how to navigate culture.

Long after we've completed this exercise, lots of people tell us that they look at culture with completely different lenses, they see more of it, can unpack layers of it easier and are more sensitive to it. Anyone can learn to navigate culture and culturally savvy leaders will always be in high demand.

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